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How to Make Flourishes in Illustrator
  • By Kia Lor
  • 15 Feb 2022
  • 7 Mins
  • Illustrator Tutorials

How to Make Flourishes in Illustrator

Discover how to make a flourish in Adobe Illustrator starting from a curved line.

Is your wedding invitation boring looking? Why not learn how to make flourishes in Illustrator that you can add to it? Flourishes can be a single line or a bunch of lines together. Add them to letters, cards, a simple design, and so much more to elevate and add personality. Today, we will show you how to make a flourish from a single swirly curved line.

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Step 1 - Draw a Swirly Curved Line

We will show you two methods of drawing a swirly curved line using the Pencil Tool and the Pen Tool. Your swirly line can go in any direction. It can have twists and turns or be a simple curved line.

Note: you could use the Curvature Tool if you'd like, but we won't go over using that tool in this tutorial.

Using the Pencil Tool

Select the Pencil Tool (N) and draw a swirly curved line. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as we'll edit it in Step 2.

How to Make Flourishes in Illustrator 1

Simplify Path

Because we are using the Pencil Tool with a mouse, the line will most likely need to be fixed. To make editing the line more manageable, we'll simplify the path to smooth it out and eliminate unneeded anchor points.

With the swirly line still selected, right-click and choose Simplify, or you could also go to Object > Path > Simplify.

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A basic Simplify dialog will open. Adjust the slider to your liking, then click outside the line to close the Simplify dialog and commit the changes.

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Using the Pen Tool

Select the Pen Tool (P) from the left toolbar, and click on the canvas to add your first anchor point.

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Move over, then click + drag to add another point and curve the line. Continue clicking and dragging to add more points to your swirly curved line.

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Again, don’t worry if it isn't perfect.

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Step 2 - Edit Anchor Points With Direct Selection Tool

We want the line to be smooth and not lumpy looking, so we will fix the line by editing the anchor points.

After creating your swirly curved line, select the Direct Selection Tool (A). Click + drag an anchor point to move it, or click + drag an anchor point’s handle to change the angle of the curve.

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Continue editing anchor points until you’re happy with the shape of the line.

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Step 3 - Edit Stroke Options

Go to Window > Stroke to open the Stroke panel. In the Stroke panel, you can edit the stroke options to change the look of the line.

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Select the curved line, then pick a Profile at the bottom of the Stroke panel. We selected Width Profile 1.

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Increase the stroke Weight at the top of the Stroke panel. We set ours to 8 pt.

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This swirly curved line is a flourish, but we'll show you that you can create so many different flourish variants by making copies of this one flourish and manipulating the copies.

Step 4 - Create Flourish Variants

To create the variants shown below, duplicate the flourish however many times you want. Then shift, reflect, rotate, and/or scale the duplicate(s). Try it out and see what you can come up with!

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For even more options, you can use the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and delete anchor points to shorten the flourish pieces and then fit them together. As shown in the first image, you can also add other design elements to the flourish or add the flourish to other designs!

Note: don't forget that you can also select a different stroke profile.

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And that’s how you can make flourishes in Illustrator!! It’s fun and pretty simple to do! Remember that from one simple flourish, you can create many more!


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